Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

A breakdown is often referred to in different ways such as a mental breakdown, emotional breakdown or the less commonly used nervous breakdown.  All terms are used to describe a state in which a person can’t function normally due to overwhelming stress.

When I was 19, & my mother raged at me after I came home late one night.  Her screams woke my father who came in to see what was happening & then they began screaming at each other.  I ran into the bathroom & locked myself in.  I sat on the floor, unable to move, function or think.  I was catatonic for about five hours.

Other times, like when my beloved grandmom passed, the breakdowns weren’t quite as severe.  The catatonia lasted much shorter durations, but they were still awful.

I really don’t think most people take breakdowns nearly as seriously as they should.  They don’t believe such a thing exists or they claim the person having the breakdown is weak or seeking attention.  The sad truth is that breakdowns are serious & can damage a person’s mental health.  It’s vital to recognize the signs before one happens.

One of the first signs is feeling very anxious.  I don’t mean the normal anxiety that you feel before a job interview.  I mean anxiety that threatens to overwhelm you when there is no obvious reason to feel anxiety to such an extreme.  I mean panic attacks, headaches, tense muscles, tremors, upset stomach or high blood pressure.

Depression is another warning sign a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Sometimes, depression overwhelms a person, & a breakdown can happen.  This is what I experienced one after my beloved grandmom died.

Being over sensitive is another warning sign.  It is a big hint that your emotions are at their limit.  They’re overworked which is why they’re so sensitive.

Behavioral changes can be another sign of a pending breakdown.  Because your mind is so overwhelmed, naturally your behavior is different.  You may isolate yourself, lack patience, be short with people or lose interest in things that you normally enjoy.

Trouble with concentration is another red flag that a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Stress makes concentration harder, but when that stress is ongoing, it’s even worse.  Ongoing stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which over time can deteriorate your memory, ability to make decisions & problem solving skills.

Sleep changes often happen if someone is coming close to experiencing a breakdown.  Some people sleep too much while others sleep too little.  The exhaustion of being overwrought emotionally can cause a person to sleep too much.  At the same time, a can person to think too much, making sleep impossible.

Weight loss or gain & appetite changes can be another sign of a possible breakdown in the future.  Some people when stressed don’t like to eat while others overeat.  When a breakdown is likely on the horizon, those changes can be even more prominent.  Over eating in particular because cortisol can trigger cravings for high fat or sugary foods.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action now.  Breakdowns can be avoided with proper self care.  Pray.  Talk to God like the Father that He is to you.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Reduce as many activities that are unnecessary as possible so you can have more time to relax.  Watch your eating habits to be sure you eat properly.  You still can indulge in a slice of cake or whatever treat you enjoy sometimes though- the key is balance, not cutting treats out entirely.  Get extra sleep, even if you need to take a sleeping pill to help you.  Do things that make you feel nurtured & comfortable.  Taking steps like these can truly help you avoid having a breakdown & are good for your mental health.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

12 responses to “Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights. I have been living like this for months now, and this post is exactly what I needed to make sense of some of my recent behavior. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ibikenyc

    Oh, dear. “Guilty” as charged!

    It had finally started occurring to me that I haven’t been myself, and I did (DUH!) start thinking, “Gee; maybe I’m ‘just’ really depressed.” However, seeing your words spelling it out this way is SO helpful.

    Thank you very much for this Validation ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. annealcroft

    After getting through a difficult Mother’s Day this year, with the roller coaster ride of unresolved family issues, the pandemic, and feeling overwhelmed by so many things, this afternoon as I was working in my garden what you wrote here, Cynthia, came to mind.

    All you say is so very true about the warning signs and today I became aware that some of these signs have lately been surfacing. The times it seems most difficult to keep the Faith are the times we need to keep Faith the most, to cling to the Sacred Heart of Christ.

    A little over 100 years ago on May 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima made her first apparition to the three children of Fatima, Portugal. This morning I read a very powerful mediation by Sister Lucia of Fatima, who was a Carmelite nun and one of the three children who witnessed the appearances of Our Lady f Fatima. In her mediation she says,

    ” Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell because there is none to make sacrifices and to pray for them (Fatima, August 19, 1917). Hence, by our union with Christ and with his Church, we must offer ourselves as victims of expiation and petition for the conversion of our brothers and sisters. Herein lies the essence of our charity; to love those who perhaps do harm to us, contradict, or persecute us. Our forgiveness, offered to them in the light of faith, hope, and charity, will draw them back into the arms of God.”

    That, together with what you write here, Cynthia, has helped get through a trying episode of feeling completely overwhelmed by heartbreak that without turning to God stands no chance of being healed. We pray for those who persecute us.

    They say that if we start to wonder if we’re “losing it,” then we’re really okay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • annealcroft

      NB: Sister Lucia’s meditiation is from “Calls” from the Message of Fatima, Sisters of Mosteiro de Santa Maria and Convento de N.S. do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon, Trs. Coimbra Carmel & Fatima Shrine, The Ravengate Press, Still River, MA

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time lately!

      I’m so glad that Sister Lucia’s meditation & my post helped you. It’s interesting how God sends us what we need when we need it, isn’t it? He truly carries us through even the hardest times!

      Sending hugs to you! ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

      • annealcroft

        Hugs back to you, Cynthia. You’re an angel and this article of yours turned out to be a great comfort this afternoon when everything hit to the point of becoming, as you say, “catatonic.”

        What Sister Lucia says takes our attention away from the heartbreak that momentarily causes us to become catatonic and to instead forgive those who as she describes, do harm, contradict, and persecute us. She’s talking about narcissists, really.

        Now and then it becomes literally sickening, however a mental breakdown strikes, when we experience an acute awareness of just how rotten these people really are.

        Our Savior carried His cross for all of us. Our saints endured the suffering, the martyrdom, for Him. That’s what keeps us going. No cross, no crown.


        • You’re very sweet.. thank you! ❤ I'm just glad this helped you! Getting to the point of a breakdown & even catatonia is horrible! Wouldn't wish that on anyone.

          Forgiving those abusers is vital, I believe. Not to the point of allowing them back in our lives necessarily, that isn't always wise, but releasing any expectations of them trying to make it up to us for the pain they've caused & releasing the anger at them too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • annealcroft

            “Forgiving those abusers is vital, I believe. Not to the point of allowing them back in our lives necessarily, that isn’t always wise, but releasing any expectations of them trying to make it up to us for the pain they’ve caused & releasing the anger at them too.”

            Yes, yes, yes! What you say gives traction to get unstuck from the mud of abuse and victimhood. Self-pity is a dangerous thing but it is inevitable that we face the raw reality that we are victims of narcissistic abuse.

            The key indeed, as you see, is “releasing any expectations of them trying to make it up to us for the pain they’ve caused.” Bingo!

            I’ve just realized that this is where, though I’ve been trying to go no contact completely with my father and sister, I keep getting pulled back in, thinking somehow they will see their abuse. Instead, it becomes all the more obvious that they take sadistic pleasure in perpetuating their abuse. What did Jesus Christ say about people like them — the Pharisees? “Forgive them, Father, they know now what they do.” That’s the only way we can really look at it.

            As heartbreaking as it is, yes, forgiveness. It’s like trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again! I pray for a resolution and closure. God knows what things all of us have need of before we ask of Him. Patience is not always an easy virtue to grasp.


            • I agree! We need to forgive that way to heal. It takes time & lots of work, but it can be done.

              Self pity can be dangerous, but I believe we need self compassion in abundance. Feel sad for what we endured while not wallowing or using it as an excuse for bad behavior.

              It’s understandable you got pulled back in! We’ve all been there!

              So true..they know not what they do. Not the depths of the depravity of it. They know they cause pain & use people, but they don’t realize how they’re inciting God’s wrath upon themselves.

              Patience is definitely not an easy virtue to grasp!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s